Mitt Romney sells $23.5M home after years of backlash from neighbors

Real Estate

The notorious San Diego home of Mitt Romney, which made headlines in 2012 for having planned an installation of a car elevator, is now in escrow for $23.5 million. 

The move comes after years of enduring backlash from neighbors for tearing down and demolishing the initial oceanfront structure and building a new, bigger home. 

Anthony Ciani, a La Jolla, California, architect and former neighbor of Romney at the time, told The Post that his issue was mostly concerning public use of the beach.

“Not all of the neighbors had issues with the Romneys’ project,” Ciani said, “but others, including me, disputed their claim to own the sandy beach west of the historic property line which could interfere with the historical public use of the beach, and because that uses that additional area of land to build a larger house than would otherwise comply with the development regulations.”

The initial home that Mitt Romney and his wife, Anne, purchased in 2008 was demolished.
The initial home that Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, purchased in 2008 was demolished in 2014.
K.C. Alfred
The ruins of the demolished La Jolla home.
The ruins of the demolished La Jolla home.
K.C. Alfred

“I hope the new owners enjoy their new home and appreciate the public’s enjoyment of the beach and ocean and sunsets the new owners will have 365 days a year,” Ciani said. 

But Ciani added that he no longer has hard feelings after Romney kept his promise to “dedicate the beach for public use.”

Five years ago, Ciani explained why the former Republican presidential candidate wanted to buy the home. 

“He could have bought other nearby houses that were bigger and for less, and for less trouble sooner, and he didn’t do that,” Ciani told the San Diego Tribune in 2015. “Supposedly the story was that it was really important to him, so this is a contradiction to that, and a significant contradiction.”

Mitt Romney bought the 3,000-square-foot oceanfront home for $12 million in 2008 and planned to build an 11,000-square-foot house with a subterranean garage in its place.
Romney bought the 3,000-square-foot oceanfront home for $12 million in 2008 and planned to build an 11,000-square-foot house with a subterranean garage in its place.
K.C. Alfred
The home seen under construction in 2015.
The home under construction in 2015.
K.C. Alfred

Romney, 74, and his wife, Ann, purchased the La Jolla home in 2008 for $12 million, property records show. 

At the time of the purchase, the home was made up of only three bedrooms and five bathrooms, spanning 3,000 square feet. 

Today, the new residence has been turned into a two-story, five-bedroom and seven-bath home and stands at over 8,100 square feet.

The newly build property spans over 8,100 square feet.
The new property spans over 8,100 square feet.
K.C. Alfred

After the controversial rebuild, which was completed at the end of 2015, Romney hired a broker to find a seller in an off-market deal, his lawyer confirmed to the San Diego Tribune at the time. 

“I can confirm that the home under construction has been shown to potential buyers,” said Matthew Peterson, who represented Romney in 2015. 

The rebuild, which was heavily opposed by those in the neighborhood, included new retaining walls, a relocated driveway and a four-car garage with a lift.

The sun sets on the remodeled oceanfront house of U.S. Senator Mitt Romney in the upscale neighborhood of La Jolla in San Diego on August 19, 2019.
The sun sets on Romney’s remodeled oceanfront house in La Jolla.
K.C. Alfred

The home became politicized in the 2012 presidential election. While opponents of Romney used the project to paint him as a wealthy person who is out of touch with the American people, the Romney camp said the family needed the extra room and the lift, for his wife, who has multiple sclerosis. 

Planning documents at the time laid out designs for a more than 11,000-square-foot house with a library, exercise room, recreation room and a room for beach gear.

Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) speaks to media in the Senate Subway, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
Sen. Mitt Romney
Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA

Romney announced the sale during a virtual discussion with the Salt Lake Chamber, Utah’s largest business association.

The Republican senator and his wife still own four other properties: a 5,900-square-foot home in Holladay, Utah; a ski chalet in Park City, Utah; a vacation home in Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire and a home in the Washington, DC, area.

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